• Saturday, July 20, 2024


Record number of migrants cross channel in single day: report

The latest numbers bring the total for 2024 to 12,313, according to Home Office

FILE PHOTO: An inflatable dinghy carrying migrants passes a French navy vessel as it heads towards England in the English Channel, Britain, May 4, 2024. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe

By: Pramod Thomas

MORE THAN 880 irregular migrants crossed the Channel to Britain on small boats on Tuesday (18), the government said, the highest number in a single day so far this year.

The arrivals come as political parties in Britain campaign for a general election on July 4 at which immigration is one of the major issues.

Tory prime minister Rishi Sunak had pledged to “stop the boats” but faced obstacles to his plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. The latest figures add pressure on Sunak ahead of a July 4 national election.

The 882 people who made the crossing bring the total for 2024 to 12,313, according to Home Office provisional figures.

The figure for crossings so far this year is 18 per cent higher than for the equivalent point last year, when the figure stood at 10,472. The daily figure was last higher in November 2022, when 947 migrants arrived in a single day.

Around 15 boats were detected by authorities on Tuesday.

Sunak’s controversial law allowing irregular migrants to be deported to Rwanda was finally passed in April after months of parliamentary wrangling.

But after calling a general election last month the premier was forced to concede that deportations would only take place “after the election” if he was re-elected.

Trailing far behind the opposition Labour party in opinion polls, and with immigration a major concern for some voters, “stopping the boats” and curbing illegal migration has been one of Sunak’s flagship pledges.

Tories are trailing badly in the polls to Keir Starmer’s Labour which has promised to scrap the Rwanda scheme, branding it a gimmick that won’t work.

Instead, its proposed solution is to create a Border Security Command that would bring together staff from the police, the domestic intelligence agency and prosecutors to work with international agencies to stop people smuggling.

There were 29,437 arrivals across the whole of 2023, a drop of 36 per cent on a record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.


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